Res et Explicatio for AD 9-7-2009

Monday, September 7, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Buckle Up! Because here are today’s Top Picks in the world of Catholicism:

1. Sadly most of us will miss the Catholic Report blog run by Dave Hartline.  Due to pleasant new circumstances of a new member of the family, Dave will be rolling back some of his extra-curricular activities to attend to his growing family.  In addition Dave will be the newest contributor to the American Catholic website and joining our family of writers.

2. Since First Things began gobbling up good bloggers such as Spengler, Wesley J. Smith, and Elizabeth Scalia and adding writers such as the American Catholic’s own Christopher Blosser, Jay Anderson, and Joseph Bottum under the First Thoughts blog, their website has gotten a WHOLE lot better.  Many interesting stories and newsbites all neatly marketed in a spiffy new look.

I suggest you all check it out here.

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One Response to Res et Explicatio for AD 9-7-2009

An Audit for the Legionnaires & Regnum Christi?

Sunday, February 8, AD 2009

George Weigel argues that a papal delegate should be appointed to audit the Legionnaires and Regnum Christi. This is a rather drastic step, but, I think, a necessary one. An excerpt:

Assuming, as we can and must, that this remains the Holy See’s intention, it must now move without delay to address the accelerating train-wreck-heading-toward-the-cliff that the Legion and Regnum Christi have become over the past ten days, as credible reports appeared in the blogosphere that Fr. Maciel had lived a life of sexual and financial scandal, probably for decades.

The reports have emanated from those who had been advised of the Legion’s own investigation of Maciel, but there is still no formal statement from the leadership of the Legion as to what its internal investigations have uncovered. There has been no full disclosure of what is known about Fr. Maciel’s corruptions. There has been no disclosure as to the nature and extent of the web of deceit he must have spun within the Legion of Christ, and beyond. And there has been no public recognition of what faithful, orthodox, morally upright Legionary priests believe have been grave corruptions of the institutional culture of their community.

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14 Responses to An Audit for the Legionnaires & Regnum Christi?

  • The whole organization should be disbanded.

    Too may leaders were complicit in a prolonged coverup of the founder’s grave misdeeds and remain inside.

    Combine this with the mythical accounts of Maciel’s “saintly” life that were ’til this very week the everyday ‘spiritual nourishment’ for LC-RC members, and the center of everything the LC-RC is/was about, and we still have a disaster only waiting to get worse.

    Too many good lives have be ruined and are in the process of ruining, as attachment to the Maciel myth and the cadre of its knowing, complicit perpetrators persist.

  • Mark,

    this would most certainly NOT serve the interest of saving souls, I’m sure the Holy Father would reject it out of hand. If we’re going to treat them so harshly, considering that they are very orthodox and loyal to the Holy Father, then perhaps we should disband the Jesuits, and a whole lot of other orders that have lost their Faith.

    I’m not fan of the LC-RC, but they need reform, not banishment (same with the Jesuits).

  • I think the jury is still out on what the best approach forward is. As Matt notes, there are some very good, faithful Catholics in these organizations. As Mark notes, there are good reasons to suspect that the entire organizational culture is corrupt.

    I think Weigel’s proposal warrants serious consideration: Let an outside source evaluate the organizations. I would probably prefer a committee to one individual, but I think it’s a necessary step in the process. Disbanding the organizations without this step might hurt a lot of innocent people; on the other hand, the current leadership cannot be trusted. An independent evaluation is necessary (although I would expect membership to drop precipitously in any case after the recent disclosures).

  • An open letter to the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi, by Dr. Germain Grisez, Flynn Professor of Christian Ethics at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

    This morning I found the attached Catholic News Service report posted on the National Catholic Register website, which suffices to convince me that the report’s content is substantially accurate. I attach it so that you may know exactly what has moved me to write this message to you, who are the only Legionaries of Christ I know well and regard as friends.

    I hope that you will realize without my saying so that nothing true of Father Maciel could ever lessen my admiration and affection for you, my readiness to associate with you, and my desire to cooperate with you whenever our different vocations make doing so appropriate. As your friend, I am thinking about your plight, and wish to offer the help I can give you.

    You must be feeling great pain at your spiritual father’s betrayal of Jesus, of his Church, and of you and all your good and faithful confreres. You also must be feeling great anxiety at the dimmed prospects for the unfolding of your vocations to priestly life and service. I try to imagine and do sympathize with those feelings and pray that the Holy Spirit will console you and strengthen you to console your good and faithful confreres.

    In my draft of chapter three of my volume on clerical and consecrated service and life, I wrote:

    While good close collaborators never renege on their total self-gift, some do leave the diocese or institute to which they first committed themselves in order to enter another, form an entirely new institute, or undertake a different sort of consecrated life. But they only undertake such a change if convinced that God is calling them to make it. Many saints have discerned such a calling and responded. Their example makes it clear that their commitment to and membership in particular dioceses or institutes is a stable but not always unalterable way of carrying out their fundamental commitment, namely, their self-gift to Jesus and his Church.
    If I were you, I would bear in mind that your fundamental commitment is to Jesus and his Church. The question that should be uppermost in your minds is how to continue carrying out that commitment most faithfully and fruitfully.

    You and all your good and faithful confreres share a common good that includes realities of great value: your communio with one another, your experience and habits of working together, and material means of carrying on your common service and life. All that should be protected, salvaged, and, if possible, kept intact. I do not think that good end can be realized by the juridical person, the Legionaries of Christ, and its present leadership.

    Sex-abuse involving diocesan clerics and members of religious institutes has been dealt with up to now solely by sanctions against those guilty of abusive activities and by measures to prevent such activities. The bishops, religious superiors, and others who were guilty—of complicity in such wrongdoing, lying about it, irresponsibility toward victims, and so on—have in general not honestly admitted, much less rectified, what they did and failed to do. For that reason, the injury to the Church continues to fester. Still, those past experiences might seem to some Legionaries to provide a model by which your present plight can be overcome.

    That would be a grave mistake for two reasons.

    First, no matter how corrupt the hierarchy may be, faithful Catholics cannot do without it, but we can do without any particular religious institute. Everyone realizes that Father Maciel’s double life required the complicity of associates, some of whom surely are still members of the institute, and some of whom probably are functioning as superiors. Unless those who shared in the betrayal are identified and faithful Legionaries cleanly separate from them, the latter group’s common good will not continue receiving the support of faithful Catholics, and will not be preserved.

    Second, when a bishop dies, the diocese’s priests cease cooperating with him. But even after the death of an institute’s saintly founder, its members’ service and life continue as cooperation with him or her. Regardless of Father Maciel’s subjective moral responsibility—which only God knows—the evidence of his objective betrayal of his commitment makes it impossible for you and other good and faithful Legionaries any longer to carry on your service and life as cooperation with him. Unless you and your confreres proceed as quickly as possible to terminate the juridical person, the Legionaries of Christ, and reorganize yourselves into a new institute, the common good you now share will begin to decompose: very few new men will join you, many in formation will leave, some professed members will separate, and the collaboration and support of the lay faithful will shrink.

    The Pope is the ultimate superior on earth of every religious institute. Only the Pope can oversee the termination of the Legionaries of Christ, the salvaging of its faithful members and other assets, and their reconstitution into a new institute. Therefore, if I were you, I would at once appeal to the Pope to fulfill his responsibility toward you, to appoint two or three prelates—members neither of the Legionaries nor of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life—as an ad hoc papal commission to conduct a thorough visitation, identify those complicit in Father Maciel’s wrongdoing and its concealment until now, and work closely with faithful, professed members in carrying out an orderly termination of the existing Institute, election of a small group to serve as founders of its replacement, and the preparation of an entirely new and reformed body of particular law for the new institute.

    Some of your good and faithful confreres undoubtedly will tell you that following my advice would violate your vow of obedience and constitute grave disloyalty to your superiors. Those sincere men will be mistaken. Your vow is to obey morally acceptable precepts. In the present disaster, it is, in my judgment, your grave moral duty to appeal to the Pope, as your superior, to save the common good of the faithful members of the Legionaries of Christ by terminating the present juridical person, and seeing to the formation of a new institute. I am sure that most who were complicit in Father Maciel’s wrongdoing were constrained by a false sense of loyalty. Do not follow their bad and disastrous example. Remember instead your responsibility to Jesus and to his Church—to all those whose souls are still to be saved by your service and that of the members of the new foundation

  • Thanks for posting Dr. Grisez’s letter. I updated the post to include a link to the letter.

  • Not sure what was “uncharitable” about my last post on Tito’s thread. care to explain, Tito? I’m serious.

  • Michael,

    It’s been four days since that post. Tito apologized. Let it go.

  • John Henry

    He didn’t really apologize — that’s the problem. And his insistance to characterize the victim as uncharitable shows the extent of his error.

  • Hrmmmmmmm — I thought this post was about the Legionnaires & Regnum Christi?

  • Henry,

    As I said, I understand your concerns, and there are differences of opinion among the contributors here. But this thread is not intended as a place to discuss those differences, and honestly I don’t feel that VN contributors are in the best position to cry foul given their own rhetorical excesses. Feel free to either post on this at your blog or discuss differences via e-mail. Any future comments on this thread unrelated to the topic of the thread will be deleted.

  • I suspect that something on the scale of what Weigal or Grisez suggest will be necessary, and I hope that the Vatican exceeds its usual speed in doing something sooner rather than later.

    I would assume that a large portion of the 800 LC priests around the world are good men who knew nothing about all this, and finding a positive direction to channel their energies rather than leaving them in freefall under a leadership now in question would seem an important move.

  • I think disbanding them is too drastic and leaves too many adrift, as has been ably noted above. But a decapitation of the upper echelon of the leadership would not be. The rot is both too pervasive and too obvious to avoid a serious housecleaning.

  • The adulation of Maciel was so excessively unhealthy. I remember, for example, how some LC leaders shared gleefully with me a story of how during a Maciel visit Nuestro Padre went onto a soccer field during a game and put his hand up to signal a stoppage of action,.One LCer either did not see Maciel’s action, or. in the passion of the game ignored the signal, kicking the soccer ball. As a result, Maciel banned soccer in all LC facilities for at least a few years, as seminarian/priestly recreation. As the story was told, everyone at the table was all smiles about how Maciel issued such orders despotically, and how all then showed such willing, unconditional obedience.

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Sad Days For the Legionnaires & Regnum Christi

Tuesday, February 3, AD 2009

Via Amy Welborn:

A year ago last week – January 30 – Legionary of Christ founder Marcial Maciel died in Houston and was, a few days later, buried in Mexico, rather than the tomb that had been constructed for him in Rome.

Over the past week, with more intensity over the weekends, rumblings have been heard about the Legionaries of Christ and their founder, Maciel. The rumblings have now reached the level of blogs, so here we go.

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7 Responses to Sad Days For the Legionnaires & Regnum Christi

  • I too have had experiences both negative and positive. Unfortunately more of the former. I do believe many members make authentic growth in their spiritual lives. Will pray for them.

  • I wish leaders other than Maciel would have faced and disclosed these truths much, much earlier.

    And the LC/RC spin machine up to just these past days made even the Clinton White House during the Lewinsky affair look like a Truth Squad.

    Sadly, the mythical life of Maciel was so intentionally central to virtually all LC-RC spirituality and activity. I pray for many, many well-intentionned and God-seeking members who now must be suffereing through the experience of betrayal and emotional/intellectual upheaval.

  • The only amazing aspect of this kerfuffle is that the LC organization should have learned from the blunders of Americano dioceses during the Priestly Scandals of 2001-05. As in- come clean, mop up the mess, do it quickly and publicly, move forward. If LC’s appeal comes from the charism of one man, it will dry up like the orders of nuns who went cloud cuckoo. If it’s rooted in Christ and His Church- not Maciel’s Church- it may find, like Opus Dei during the Da Vinci Code hysteria, that bad publicity is better than none.

  • During times like these, it is important to remember the words of the Gospels, “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” It is right to judge the gravity of the sin-the actions-however one cannot judge the sinner. This is because in order to judge the sinner, one has to have infinite knowledge of that person. This means knowing his interior life, thoughts and dispositions, as well as his exterior life. I am in no way condoning such terrible actions. I am only saying this because it is at the heart of Christian social teaching. This applies not only to this specific situation, but also to the other men who , during their time as priest, have committed such sins throughout the history of the Church. I learned at an early age this lesson in not judging on by their sin and am grateful that, by the grace of God, I have been able to adhere to it.

    The constitutions and the statutes of the Legion and Regnum Christi have all been approved by the Holy See and the good that has been done for the Church cannot be denied. The mission has always been to have a deep interior life with Christ and to share that love with the world in the most effective way possible. This knowledge does not only affect the Legion and Regnum Christi, but also the Church as a whole-the Body of Christ.

    At this moment, it is important more than ever to pray for holy vocations and the fidelity of all religious in their marriage to the Church. We, as the Body of Christ, cannot focus on what “we” wish would have happened in the past, as those things did not happen. What we shoud do rather, is pray for the mercy of God and the fidelity of all Catholics to Christ and the Church. We must live in the present, live in Christ, and in the spirit of Christian charity. This is a very sad and disappointing time, but it is in the most distressing of times that one must cling to the Crucified Christ and not only seek to console Him in his suffering, but to seek Him for consolation as well.

  • Rebecca,
    Jesus spoke about millstones for those who act like this. those who lead the little ones astray. The effects of this tightly guarded secret will impact many, sadly, not for the good. It will give ammunition to those who oppose the Church and it will give pause to those who might have considered the Church. If he really knew God, he knew that all things would be revealed. What was he thinking?

  • I have always been taught that regular confession, partaking of the Eucharist and the other sacraments give us plentiful grace in time of struggle and temptation.
    I would appreciate the insight and comments to bring clarity to this horrific happening.
    I, too, am acquainted with RC/LC persons who have grown in the spiritual life. I have attended the “meetings” (or nights of reflection) and often departed with a odd feeling, stomach ache or like I had just gone to a clean sororiaty event. I coughed it up to my own personality and temperament and the realization that I had no calling to such a movement.
    Comments or insight please!

  • I would like to ask legionaries and RC priests whether you consider yourself as catholic priest or just a RC priests. I have met many of you who to this day defend Father Maciel so vehemently that make me realize you don’t trust on the verdict and recommendations Pope Benedict has given RC.

    Mi opinion is that the more you insist on defending what is not defendable, the more the rest of the Catholics and people with common sense will separate from you. I honestly believe that regardless of all the sins and crimes of Father Maciel, RC has gather a lot of good people, it is up to you to disengage of the memory of Father Maciel and all his brain washing practices.

    Movements like RC give the impression that the members adore the founder above the only figure we should be adoring and setting as an example which is Jesus Christ.